Review: THE SWAN, a Lyrical and Sobering Look at Adulthood Through a Child's Eyes

A wilful young girl sent to work on a farm in rural Iceland – a waning traditional Icelandic practice to instill independence in children – uncovers some uncomfortable real-world truths in The Swan (Svanurinn), Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir’s serious-in-tone coming-of-age drama...

Udine 2018 Review: THE NAME, an Odd but Curiously Absorbing Japanese Indie

There is more than meets the eye in Toda Akihiro’s The Name, an odd but curiously absorbing mystery drama that appears deceptively simple from the outset. Within its modest trappings, this Japanese indie raises some thoughtful existential questions about personal...

Udine 2018 Review: THE SCYTHIAN LAMB, A Bizarre Genre Hybrid Infused with Kaiju Folklore

In the sleepy coastal town of Uobuka, the statue of a googly-eyed green sea monster named Nororo towers over a precipice. According to legend, Nororo is an evil presence from the sea and whoever looks into its eyes will be...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF, an Uncompromising Character Study of a Flawed Man

When it comes to passive heroes, perhaps none could be more than Ryutaro, the protagonist (and director of the same name) of Sweating the Small Stuff. Ryutaro, 27 years of age, lives alone in a messy apartment piled high with...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: I HAVE A DATE WITH SPRING, a Playful Tragicomic Ensemble Drama about The End Of The World

Do not be fooled by the outwardly cheery title of Baek Seung-bin’s I Have A Date With Spring – the film is actually about individuals whose birthdays fall one day before doomsday.   For a country like South Korea, which...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: THE RETURN, a Poignant and Authentic Tale of Korean Adoptees Returning Home

Ever since the end of the Korean War in 1953, South Korea has earned a name as one of the largest exporters of babies worldwide. Over 200,000 infants have been put up for adoption and sent overseas, mainly to Europe...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: THE HEART, a Trendy Millennial Drama Celebrating Female Sexuality and Independence

The heart wants what it wants, but does not get – this is the premise of Swedish actress-director Fanni Metelius’s debut The Heart (Hjartat), about a young photographer Mika and her musician boyfriend Tesfay who are madly in love, yet...